Israeli scientists lead the way to discovering how to administer harsh drugs, similar those used in chemotherapy, that won’t hurt healthy tissue, report writers at The Jerusalem Post. This new method is being developed by Doctoral candidate Alona Shagan and Assistant Professor Boaz Mizrahi at Haifa’s Technion-Israel Institute of Technology:
This is done using unique polymer packaging with trapped gold nanoparticles. When the packaging is exposed to light, the gold particles heat up and melt, allowing the drug to be released.
According to Shagan, “Photo- triggered materials play a major role in many biomedical applications, but despite their enormous potential, many of them are not applicable due to two reasons: the toxicity of the polymer packaging itself and damage caused by the high-energy [shortwave] light.”
The Technion researchers have developed the unique packaging so the elements will be softened by the projection of long-wave (near-infrared) light.
The main advantage of near-infrared light is that it penetrates the body’s tissues without harming them. “We developed a material here with varying melting points, which allows us to control fusion by wavelength,” added Mizrahi. “The advantage is that our packaging is made of polymers approved by the FDA, so we think the path to clinical implementation will be relatively short.”